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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  May 9, 2010 10:00am-11:00am EDT

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so we expect him to talk a little bit about how important it is to get a good education, how it will open doors, and always likely call on these roughly 1,000 graduates to go back and be good examples in their own communities, to encourage younger black kids to really focus on education. we know black students along with hispanic students are being outperformed by their white counterparts. and so we expect him to touch on a few of those things. and of course whatever you think about the president, he's achieved the highest office in the land. and so certainly for this group of black students he's a good example and a good role model. we expect him to touch on those things. >> a good role model for anyone. anybody who can achieve the highest office in the land is pretty remarkable. good for hampton university. i'm sure he gets a lot of offers flood in to do commencement speeches. has there been reaction to that? people saying this is very significant to have this president at this time in history speaking at hampton. >> reporter: it certainly is significant. the fact that you have this
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historically black college, he's likely to touch a little bit on the history of historically black colleges, how they were founded, how it was important to give young blacks a good education to help them combat the inequality. they knew way back when went slavery ended that things wouldn't change overnight and the only way they would get ahead would be with a good education. it will be significant for him to talk about these things. last week he was at the university of michigan, later on he'll be at west point. but for this particular crowd at hampton it's going to be a really big deal. >> a big deal is looking at some of the unlum nigh here, among those graduating booker t. washington who hat 16 years old walked 500 mime, walked 500 miles to get to this campus and study there. his graduating class, class of 1875. that is just cool to look at history like that. so as we look at this together, before we let you go, athena,
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quickly, with regard to the supreme court nominee, potentially the nomination of elena kagan, not supposed to be official until tomorrow. how confident are we it is elena kagan that is going to get the nod? >> i want to see it on paper. i want someone to tell me directly. there's a lot of speculation. a lot of people claim we know for sure. certainly seems like she's the front-runner among the front-runners. she's the current solicitor general. she argues the cases in front of the supreme court. she's said to have a pretty good relationship with some of those justices. she was a former dean of harvard law school, a professor at harvard lu laue school. she knows the president from their days at teaching at the university of chicago. we know she has a small paper trail so people may be a little bit worried that they don't really know how liberal she is. but at 49 she'd be one of the youngest justices and as a woman, the third one, which would be a record. if it's her, people saying it is her, will be happy. if it isn't, they will be a bit surprised.
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? thank you very much, athena jones from the white house. we'll keep our eye on things at hampton university. developing right now, bp officials say it will be tomorrow at the earliest before they decide on a plan b to contain the massive oil leak in the gulf of mexico. and that is because crews have run into a new problem with the 100-ton steel and concrete box that was supposed to cover the leak and funnel the oil it trapped to a tanker on the surface. nbc's kristen dahlgren is live for us in venice, louisiana. kristen, what is this new roadblock we're talking about? and a good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, alex. you know, this was seen as a long shot but really the best shot to stop that leak, at least in the short term. and what happened was they lowered that containment dome on top of the leak and because the water at that depth is so chilly the oil and gas and water mixture started to form essentially these ice crystals and that slushy mix started to rise up to the top of that
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containment box. one, it makes it more basis point. those ice crystals lighter than water, and so that could have caused a problem with the box floating. but also it clogged up the top of it where the pipe was supposed to be connected to begin siphoning the oil to the surface. so bp had to lift the box back off of the leak and move it some 600 feet or so away, set it back down, and now it is just waiting there for them to come up with some type of solution. as you said, they say it's going to be at least another day to study the problem, alex. >> okay. and what about all these blobs of oil and tar that are washing ashore on the beaches? this is maybe just the beginning. >> reporter: yeah. they are seeing now some diamond golf ball-sized globs of tar coming ashore in dauphin island, alabama, about 100 miles from where we are here in southeastern louisiana. so they're studying those. they do think that it is oil. and that just shows you how this is spreading. take a look over here, alex. you can see what we're seeing today is a lot more wind in this
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area, and that is bad. they say the wind tomorrow is likely to shift and begin to blow it onshore even more. and so it really is a race against time. that oil is almost an inevitability to start making landfall in more places as they try to stop that leak some 200,000 gallons per day still spewing into the gulf of mexico. >> okay. no end in sight at this point. kristen dahlgren, thank you so much. well, the volcano in iceland is causing more flight delays and cancellations across europe today. the airports in spain, portugal, and italy are all closed because of the volcanic ash. by tonight, the ash is expected to cover parts of germany, the czech republic and austria. that plume of ash is reaching about 20,000 feet into the air. a suspected u.s. missile attack leveled a house today in pakistan, killing at least ten people, this according to intelligence officials who say the attack targeted militant leaders. the strikes took place in north waziristan. that's a tribal region that has long been a haven for militants
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linked to the taliban and al qaeda. the suspect in the failed times square car bombing says he trained in a militant camp in waziristan. new this morning, attorney general eric holder says the alleged times square car bomber didn't act alone. >> i can say that the evidence that we've now developed shows that the pakistani taliban has directed this plot. we know that they helped facilitate it. we know they helped direct it. and i suspect that we are going to come up with evidence that shows they helped to finance it. they were intimately involved in this plot. >> the national security reporter ee ee eer for "the was post" joins us. good morning. >> good morning. >> how does this change the situation that we're not looking at a lone wolf but someone with ties to terrorism? >> this is something we've known all along, of course, but now we have two administration officials coming out and saying this is definitely connected to the taliban in pakistan. it's a declaration these local pakistani groups have successfully come to this country and tried to pull off a
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major attacks. that allows all kinds of new things to happen on this side. >> in a new interview today, secretary clinton has a pretty stern warning for pakistan. so now that it appears the justice department is making that link, what are the consequences we might see? >> yeah. pakistan is a country that receives billions of dollars in u.s. aid every day. so this is a big leverage point. we can go to the pakistanis now and say, look, this happened, you know, we're not saying that pakistan knew about this or was behind it in some way, the groups on pakistani soil made this happen, helped this happen, so we can go to pakistanis and say we need more cooperation both on the investigation of this case and also going after some of these groups. some of these taliban groups and local domestic groups that are all interrelated now have ties to the pakistani army and to the intelligence community that go back for years. and so it's time for pakistan to
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start getting tougher on these groups. >> yeah. i want to make a quick clarification. you said billions of dollars every day or is that every year? >> every year. an annual sum. >> that's good because we're having trouble here economically so it would be like, what? thank you very much. ask you real quick, the whole bomb plot costs something like $7,000, maybe even less. does that send up a red flag that this is the kind of thing we're going to see in the future more of? small-scale, opportunist ichter report attempts like this given the economy? >> yeah. the new m.o. seems to be small and simple and also hasty, because these groups are under such pressure because of drone strikes they can't really do extensive training. if they send numerous people out to pull off a complicated plot, they're likely to get caught and stopped. the new m.o. is find somebody to do something quickly, even if it's not very sophisticated like here, but try to get it done and get lucky. >> all right. thank you so much. from washington now to hampton university, there you see the president taking to the podium.
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he's going to be addressing all of those graduating today, more than 1,000 students. wishing them luck. let's take a listen to the president. >> thank you. thank you, class of 2010! please, everybody. please have a seat. i love you back. that's why i'm here. i love you guys. good morning, everybody. >> good morning! >> to all the mothers in the house, you know, as somebody who is surrounded by women in the white house, grew up surrounded by women, let me take a moment
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just to say thank you for all that you put up with each and every day. we are so grateful to you, and it is fitting to have such a beautiful day when we celebrate all our mothers. thank you to hampton for all allowing me to share this special occasion. to all the dignitaries who are here, the trustee, the alumni, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. that's cousin over there. before we get started, i just want to say i'm excited. the battle of the real issue will be taking place in washington this year. you know i am not going to pick
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sides. but my understanding is it's been 13 years since the pirates lost. as one hampton alum on my staff put it, "the last time howard beat hampton, the fujis were still together." let me also say a word about president harvey, a man who bleeds hampton blue. in a single generation, hampton has transformed from a small black college into a world-class research institution. and that transformation has come through the efforts of many people, but it has come through president harvey's efforts in
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particular. and i want to commend him for his outstanding leadership as well as his great friendship to me. most of all, i want to congratulate all of you, the class of 2010. i gath they're none of you walked across ogden circle. you did. okay. you know, we meet here today as graduating classes have met for generations, not far from where it all began, near that old oak tree after emancipation drive. i know my university 101.
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there, beneath its branches by what was then a union garrison, about 20 students gathered on september 17th, 1861, taught by a free citizen in defiance of virginia law. the students were escaped slaves from nearby plantations who had fled to the fort, seeking asylum. at the war's end, a retired union general sought to ensidelienslihrine that legacy of learning and took a collection from church groups, some war veterans, and a choir that toured europe. hampton normal and agricultural institute was founded here by the chesapeake, a home by the sea. now that story is no doubt
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familiar to many of you, but it's worth reflecting on why it happened, why so many people went to such trouble to found hampton and all our historically black colleges and universities. the founders of these institutions knew, of course, that inequality would persist long into the future. they were not naive. they recognized that barriers in our laws on in our hearts wouldn't vanish overnight. but they also recognized the larger truth, a distinctly american truth. they recognized, class of 2010, that the right education might allow those barriers to be overcome, might allow our god-given potential to be fulfilled. they recognized, as frederick douglass once put it, that
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education means emancipation. they recognized that education is how america and its people might fulfill our promise. that recognition, that truth, that an education can fortify us to rise above any barrier, to meet any test, is reflected again and again throughout our history. in the midst of civil war, we set aside land grants for schools like hampton to teesm farmers and factory workers the skills of an industrializing nation. at the close of world war ii, we made it possible for returning gis to attend college, building and broadening our great middle class. when the cold war kuz gone, we set up centers for graduates to understand and address the gullible threats of a nuclear
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age. so education is what has always allowed us to meet the challenges of a changing world. at hampton, that has never been more true than it is today. this class is graduating at a time of great difficulty for america and for the world. you're entering a job market in an era of heightened international competition, with an economy that's still rebounding from the worst crisis since the great depression. you're accepting your degrees as america still wages two wars, wars that many in your general va generation have been fighting. and meanwhile you're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bomb barlds us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter.
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and with ipods and ipads and xboxs and playstations, none of which i know how to work,which high on the truth meter. and with ipods and ipads and xboxs and playstations, none of which i know how to work, information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. so all of this is not only putting pressure on you, it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy. class of 2010, this is a period of breathtaking change like few others in our history. we can't stop these changes. but we can channel them. we can shake them. we can adapt to them. and education is what can allow us to do so. it can fortify you as it did
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earlier generations to meet the tests of your own time. and first and foremost, your education can fortify you against the uncertainties of a 21st century economy. in the 19th century, folks could get by with a few basic skills, whether they learned them in a school like hampton or picked them up along the way. as long as you were willing to work, for much of the 20th century, a high school diploma was a ticket into a solid middle-class life. that is no longer the case. jobs today often require at least a bachelor's degree, and that degree is even more important in tough times like these. in fact, the unemployment rate for folks who have never gone to college is over twice as high as for folks with a college degree or more. now, the good news is you're already ahead of the curve.
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all those checks you or your parents wrote to hampton will pay off. you're in a strong position to outcompete worke er ers around world, but i don't have to tell you that too many folks back home aren't as well prepared. too many young people just like you are not as well prepared by any number of different yardsticks. african-americans are being outperformed by their white classmates as are hiss pan hispanic-americans. students in well-off areas are outperforming students in poorer, rural, or urban communities no matter what skin color. globally it's not even close. in eighth grade science and math, for example, american students are ranked about tenth overall compared to top-performing countries. but african-americans are ranked behind more than 20 nations,
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lower than nearly every other developed country. so all of us have a responsibility as americans to change this, to offer every single child in this country an education that will make them competitive in our economy. that is our obligation as a nation. but i have to say, class of 2010, all of you have a separate responsibility -- to be role models for your brothers and sisters, to be mentors in your communities, and when the time comes to pass that sense of an education's value down to your children, a sense of personal responsibility and self-respect, to pass down a work ethic and an intrinsic sense of excellence
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that made it possible for you to be here today. so allowing you to compete in the global economy is the first way your education can prepare you. but it can also prepare you as citizens. with so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs and on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult at times to sift through it all, to know what to believe, to figure out who's telling the truth and who's not. let's face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. i've had some experience in that regard. fortunately, you will be well positioned to navigate this terrain. your education has honed your research abilities, sharpened your analytical powers, given you a context for understanding the world. those skills will come in handy. but the goal was always to teach
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you something more. over the past four years you've argued both sides of the debate. you've read novels and histories that take different cuts at life. you've discovered -- i got a little "amen" back there. somebody -- you discovered interests you didn't know you had. you made friends who didn't grow up the same way you did. you've tried things you've never done before, including some things we won't talk about in front of your parents. all of this i hope has had the effect of opening your mind, of helping you understand what it's like to walk in somebody else's shoes. but now that your minds have been opened, it's up to you to keep them that way. it will be up to you to open minds that remain closed that you meet along the way. that, after all, is the elemental test of any democracy, whether people with differing
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points of view can learn from each other and work with each other and find a way forward together. might i add one further observation. just as your education can fortify you, it can also fortify our nation as a whole. more and more america's economic pre-eminence, our ability to outcompete other countries, will be shaped not just in our boardrooms, not just on our factory floors, but in our classrooms, in our schools, at universities like hampton. it will be determined by how well all of us, and especially our parents, educate our sons and daughters. what's at stake is more than our ability to outcompete other nations. it's our ability to make democracy work in our own nation. now, years after he left office, decades after he penned the declaration of independence, thomas jefferson sat down a few hours' drive from here in
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monticello and wrote a letter to a longtime legislator, urging him to do more on education. and jefferson gave one principal reason, the one perhaps he found most compelling. if a nation expects to be ignorant and free, he wrote, it expects what never was and never will be. what jefferson recognized, like the rest of that gifted founding generation, was that in the long run their improbable experiment called america wouldn't work if its citizens were uninformed, if its citizens were apathetic, if p its citizens checked out and left democracy to those who didn't have the best interests of all the people at heart. it could only work if each of us stayed informed and engaged, if we held our government
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accountable, if we fulfilled the obligations of citizenship. the success of their experiment, they understood, depended on the participation of its people, the participation of americans like all of you. the participation of all those who have ever sought to perfect our union. i had the great honor of delivering a tribute to one of those americans last week, an american named dorothy height. and as you probably know, dr. height passed away the other week at the age of 98. one of the speakers at this memorial was her nephew, who was 88. and i said, that's a sign of a full life when your nephew is 88.
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dr. height had been on the firing line for every fight, from lynching to desegregation, to the battle for health care reform. she was with eleanor roosevelt, and she was with michelle obama. she lived a singular life. one of the giants upon whose shoulders i stand. but she started out just like you, understanding that to make something of herself she needed a college degree. so she applied to college and she got in. except when she showed up, they
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discovered she wasn't a white woman as they had believed. and they had already given their two slots for african-americans to other individuals. those slots, two, had already been filled. but dr. height was not discouraged. she was not deterred. she stood up, straight backed, and with barnard's acceptance letter in hand, she marched down to new york university and said, let me in. and she was admitted right away. i want all of you to think about this, class of 2010, because you've gone through some hardships, undoubtedly, in arriving to where you are today. there have been some hard days and hard exams, and you've felt put upon. and undoubtedly you will face other challenges in the future. but i want you to think about
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miss dorothy height, a black woman in 1929, refusing to be denied her dream of a college education, refusing to be denied her rights, refusing to be denied her dignity, refusing to be denied her place in america, herpes of ameri piece of americ. refusing barriers of injustice, inquality, or unfairness stand in her way. that refusal -- that refusal to accept a lesser fate, that insistence on a better life, that ultimately is the secret not only of african-american survival and success, it has been the secret of america's survival and success. so, yes, an education can
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fortify the means, the test of our economy, the test of our citiz citizenship, and the test of our times. but what ultimately makes us america, quint essentially america, is something that can't be taught, a stubborn insistence on pursuing our dreams. it's the same insistence that led a band of patriots to overthrow an empire, that fired the passions of union troops, to free the slaves and union veterans to found schools like hampton, that led foot soldiers the same age as you to brave fire hoses on the streets of m birmingham and a bridge in selma, that led generation after generation of americans to toil away quietly, your parents and great grandparents and
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great-great grandparents without complaint in the hopes of a better life for their children and grandchildren. that is what makes us who we are, a dream of brighter days ahead, a faith in things not seen, a belief that here in this country we are the authors of our own destiny. that is what hampton's all about. and it now falls to you, the class of 2010, to write the next great chapter in america's story, to meet the test of your own time, to take up the ongoing work of fulfilling our founding promise. i'm looking forward to watching. thank you. god bless you. and may god bless the united states of america. >> the president there completing his remarks at hampton university to the more than 1,000 graduates assembled there. it is a campus of about 5,400
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stub students. and of course you can imagine the significance of president president obama tending to the commencement duties here for this predominantly black college. and it is a wonderful day for all those graduates and their mothers. the president started out this day thanking all the mothers there on mother's day. he talked about a sense of history there, and he also talked about the promise of change and betterment of our future, all based on the foundation of the education that these students got here today. so the president will be leaving shortly. he'll be taking off shortly and heading back to the white house where he's expected to spend a quiet afternoon with his wife, michelle, and his mother-in-law, mentioning earlier he's surrounded by ladies in the white house, as, indeed, he is. we'll get you another lady potentially in the president's wife, the next potential pick for the supreme court. [ woman ] nine iron, it's almost tee-time... time to face the pollen that used to make me sneeze... my eyes water. but now zyrtec®, the fastest 24-hour allergy relief, comes in a new liquid gel. new zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®.
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as president obama wraps up his quick stop in virginia this morning, there are new plans for a supreme court justice. politico says he's chosen elena kagan as the next nominee. earlier this morning on "meet the press," attorney general eric holder weighed in on the process. >> the president has had a wealth of good candidates to consider, and i think he's looking for a person who will understand that we have to have a supreme court that understands its decisions and the impact those decisions have on the average american person. >> joining us now is eleanor clift, contributing editor with "newsweek" and a.b. stoddard with "the hill" newspaper. good morning, ladieladies. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> how come i department get the green memo? anyway. we have to do this. eleanor, you first, talk about elena kagan. i mean, she clearly has a very strong resume, but with regard to a paper trail, not so much. how does that affect the confirmation process? >> right. well, there's less to pick over,
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and that's a good thing. there's also less to evaluate her on. and i think that's what makes the left nervous, because they don't know how strong she is in holding up the progressive end of constitutional law. but we have gotten to see her perform. she's argued i think six cases before the supreme court as solicitor general. she lost a big one, which was the case that allows corporate union money to come into campaigns without any tax on it. and she wins praise for how she argued the case, but she is quite humble in the way she reminds people who praise her that she did lose. she is the only nonjudge of the four that we know that the president has interviewed. i'm always a little nervous by realing believing that she's the one because presidents like to be koy about these things, and maybe he snuck somebody in the back door and interviewed him or
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her. so i think there's still a potential here for a surprise. >> i absolutely agree with you. a.b., what about the senate republicans? as you know, they've been blocking pretty much everything the president puts forward. why would a supreme court nominee be any different? >> well, i don't think you're going to see a senate filibuster of the choice, especially not if it's elena kagan. i think they're going to rough her up for sure. their base will demand it. they will have issues on which they disagree. i think they will remind elena kagan if she is the pick of her writings from 1995 when she sort of criticized the entire process, what she called the vacuous process of confirming supreme court nominees in the senate that she took senators to task, and i will quote, for the fact that they allowed during the clinton administration for ruth bader ginsburg and stephen breyer to, quote, decline to disclose their views on controversial issues and cases.
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last year when she was up as the nominee for solicitor general, she did the same thing, but she made a different case for why she could do that, and i think once she's in the hot seat you will see a very, very stringent grilling of elena kagan, particularly also because she has no judicial record. they'll want to know her opinions on controversial cases, and they will also want to know why she was a paid adviser to goldman sachs. they will also be very interested in what was sort of an activist role she took in trying to ban military recruiting on the campus at harvard over the fact that homosexuals couldn't serve openly in the military. >> right. anything right now related to goldman sachs you have to explain pit. i believe she made about $10,000 there as a consultant. i'm sure they'll go over that with a fine-toothed comb. eleanor, if the president were to select a moderate justice, would that win him points with conservatives when it comes to other issues down the road? >> well, from my perspective, i think she is more moderate. she's liberal, but she's
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certainly not an activist personality. but i think what the republicans are going to do, they're going to behave what's in their best interest. and you now see them beginning to coalesce around financial reform. i think that bill could get upwards of 70 votes. and i don't see a great deal of percentage in fighting against elena kagan, who won a strong consensus from the senate to serve as solicitor general. there's not really anything about her to not like. i think the republicans could find other fertile issues leading into the november election. so i think a.b. is right, they'll put up a fight and they'll rough her up, but i think in the end they're not going to want to spend too much time on this. they've got other issues they can beat the president over the head with. >> ladies, that's a wrap for this segment so i'll say good-bye for the day. eleanor, thanks for joining us on this mother's day. >> okay. >> a.b., another hour for you. >> that's right. attorney general eric holder says the suspect in the times
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square bomb plot didn't stop talking to investigators when his miranda rights were read to him. holder is talking to congress about possible changes in the law requiring notification to suspects of their right to remain silent. >> take me through the test. >> you use the public safety exception that the supreme court has defined, to make sure that there are no immediate threats. >> quote, unquote, ticking time bomb scenario. >> ticking time bomb. then you make the determination whether or not it is appropriate, whether you think they're giving miranda warnings to that person is going to stop the flow of information or whether the flow of information will continue. and you make the determination, in this particular case, is it more important for us to get intelligence from this person or is it more important for us to build the case? one of the things that we have certainly seen is that the giving of miranda warnings has not stopped these terrorist suspects from talking to us. they have continued to talk even though we have given them miranda warnings. >> is that the still case here with shahzad? >> clearly the case. he was given his miranda
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warnings after the public safety questioning was finished, and he has talked to us and continues to talk to us. >> you can watch david gregory's entire interview with attorney general eric holder when "meet the press" reairs on msnbc sunday. the tea party was out supporting the four students sent home from school for wearing american flag clothes on cinco de mayo. about 100 people or so turned out for a rally in morgan hill yesterday carrying signs and waving american flags. the controversy started when school administrators told those boys the clothes would be incendiary so they asked them to turn them inside out. the teens refused and were sent home. one of the most anticipated appearances in "saturday night live" history, and last night betty white proved she is still a golden girl. the 88-year-old appeared in nearly skit and never seemed to miss a beat, including one segment with tina fey that took some jabs at the u.s. census. >> first question. how many people live at this residence? >> zero. >> you don't live here?
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>> oh, including me? three. >> okay. i'm going to put you down as the primary resident. >> terrific. >> now, how would you describe your race or ethnic origin? >> well, superior to asians but not as intel jenlt ligent as bl. >> let me clarify. which of the following describes you? white, asian, hispanic, pacific islander. >> oh, pacific islander. let's try that. and don't skimp on the rum. >> what is your last name, ma'am? >> blarfengar. >> can you spell that for me? >> s-m-i-t-h. >>fengar. alec baldwin has been a very tough act to follow as he host next week's show with musical guests tom petty and the heartbreakers. [ female announcer ] instead of drinking old office coffee,
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atf officials in new york say alcohol and drug tests on the crew of a staten island ferry came back negative. dozens of passengers were hurt and officials say the ferry apparently had a mechanical failure. from washington, d.c., nbc contributor mark rosenker, former chairman of ftc. i've had some coffee. >> i had a second cup. >> we're good to go. the standard procedure for investigating an accident like this, what is it and what do officials do in the first few days? >> they'll do a good deal of interviewing of the crew. they'll be asking for documentation of the inspections that occurred. they do four inspections a year plus a major inspection on an annual basis. they'll also be taking a look at the systems themselves. they'll be taking it to a dry dock where they'll be able to
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actually tear down the engine. this particular vessel had a propulsion system, which was quite complex, but a very reliable one. it was a voigt schneider propulsion system that kind of would look like a quisinart, if you will, five blades that spin around. these are very, very reliable, very maneuverable vessels. >> okay, except that yesterday morning, what did you first think when you heard about this accident, particularly this fairfair fairy ferry, which has a fatal history? >> it does. i actually worked on the investigation which occurred in the accident on october 15th of 2003, when 11 people were killed and some 80 people were injured. so to hear that the "andrew j. barberi" was involved in another accident was quite startling to me. >> okay. can you draw any similarities to that accident? i mean, granted, fortunately, there was nobody killed in this one, a couple of serious injuries, but we expect everyone to recover. >> what we know about this
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particular accident is that it apparently was something mechanical. we'll know more as they begin to tear down the systems. the accident which occurred back in '03 was clearly human failure and, matter of fact, the captain of that vessel was prosz cuted on criminal charges and did some time in jail. >> okay. mark rosenker, thank you for sticking around this morning. appreciate that. >> good day and a happy, happy mother's day to you. >> thank you, mark. appreciate it. because of the massive toyota recall, congress is working on legislation to improve safety standards in the auto industry. what steps could they take? will the automakers comply? first a shoutout to military moms on this mother's day. >> to my daughter, i love you, to my mom and aunt, thank you for taking care of her. and i miss you. love you guys. keep us in your prayers. make sure to write. it keeps everybody's hopes up. and just stay strong. [ diane lane ] when you were 14 you knew exactly where to turn
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in the wake of that's massive safety recall, federal officials are weighing new options on ways to keep the nation's highways and drivers safe. one plan under consideration would require automakers to install data recorders in new vehicles. the dwilss are similar to the so-called black boxes on airplanes that would record and save key information in the case of a problem or a crash. joining me now, the ceo and founder of carless.com. lu ann, good sunday morning to you. thanks for being here. >> thanks, alex. happy mother's day. >> thanks so much. i appreciate that. let's go with what the national highway traffic safety administration is doing. they encouraged the idea of these car black boxes in 2008 but didn't require them. are the troubles with toyota now the catalyst for revisiting this? >> it is. and they also encourage some of
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the brake override and haven't required that. so maybe we ought to step back and just say what is this brake override, because that is toyota's problem, even though companies like bmw and nissan already have brake override. and what it will do, alex, is if you step on the gas and step on the brake at the same time, it will not allow the gas to take over control of your vehicle. the brake takes over control, and it overrides anything else the car is doing but allows you to still safely steer to the side of the road. so it is important that the brake override happens. the black box, as it's called, i think is a little overkill because what it does is it gathers a lot of information but it also will cost a lot to the customer. and they will pass that on to the customer. and alex, you know about two years ago we did, you and i did a segment on fatalities, and there are about 40,000 fatalities in the united states,
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about 16,000 of those from alcoholic drivers. what's that black box going to tell you then? and some of them are from teenagers. what's that black box going to tell you then when they get killed at nighttime? so you're trying to gather information to take care of a problem when if you just had brake override that problem would be solved. >> yeah. so you're wondering about the cost of adding these so-called black boxes to the cars. but what about adding the brake override? you know, there are those who might say this is just yet another technological system to put onto a car and it might not work. >> well, it has worked in many other companies, and that has been the issue with toyota. they fought and fought this since about 2003 with the national highway traffic safety administration. it wasn't until about 2009 when ray lahood came in and took charge that he was swift and he was strong and he didn't play
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games. every other nhtsa group has had a recall with toyota. they've closed it and found no problem with it when all toyota had to do was put a brake override in there and instead of trying to save money they would have actually saved lives. >> all right. louanne hammond, ceo of carlist.com, good to see you on this mother's day. thanks, lou ann. >> thanks, alex. bp is on a plan to try and stop that oil spill in the gulf of mexico. it's a plan b. but what happened to plan snashgs. and do bigger body parts help you get bigger tips? ♪ [ male announcer ] winning more awards for quality and customer service than any other luxury manufacturer the last 10 years says something. yet, the award we value most is the fact that lexus has had more repeat, loyal drivers, in more of the last 10 years, than any other luxury automotive brand.
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take two. it is back to the drawing board in the battle against the oil spill. so why hasn't the dome done the trick? plus, is she the one? who is this woman who so many are saying will become the
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president's supreme court choice. she's one of four names being floated out there. it is a falling out, a boxer's tangle ends up off the canvas and on the floor. >> needless to say we didn't have facebook when i was growing up. yes, we had poking, but it wasn't something you did on a computer. >> betty white leaving them laughing on snl. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt. thanks for joining us here, 11:00 a.m. on the east coast, 8:00 a.m. out west. a happy mother's day to all of you who are celebrating out there. developing right now, efforts to contain the massive oil leak off the coast of louisiana hits a roadblock as the crews are encountering a new program. and the urgency to contain that spill is growing as the small clumps of tar are washing up now on alabama's dauphin island and these globs are believed to be right from the oil spill. nbc's kristen dahlgren is live in venice, louisiana, for us. kristen, let's get to the new problem in trying to contain the gushing oil.

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